The study is a randomized controlled trial implemented in collaboration with the Government of Punjab,
Pakistan. The urban services examined are provided by local governments funded through locally collected
property taxes and fiscal transfers. The study aims to strengthen the link between taxes paid and the services
provided through the following main interventions:
1. Local Allocation. In the status quo, revenue is collected from administrative tax units and transferred
to local governments that allocate these to city-level services. However, there is no linkage between taxes
paid and services received at a lower and likely more salient geographical unit – the neighborhood (a
contiguous set of typically 100-400 households). To strengthen the link between taxes paid and services
provided, local governments will commit to allocate a portion (35%) of property tax collected from a
neighborhood to that same neighborhood. Citizens will be made aware of this linkage via videos shown on a
smartphone app and flyers distributed by the tax authority to households.
2. Voice. Tax staff will inform citizens of the tax-service linkage and give them a more direct voice in how
their taxes will be utilized by soliciting citizens’ preferences on which types of local goods and services should
be prioritized in their neighborhood. The results of this preference elicitation will be shared with the local
government in an effort to improve the allocation of services.
3. Voice-based Local Allocation. This intervention combines the previous two. By both eliciting citizen
preferences and requiring local governments to allocate a portion of property tax collected from a
neighborhood to that same neighborhood in accordance with these preferences, it seeks to make the tax-
services link even more salient and credible. Citizens will be informed of this earmarking, and the subsequent
service expenditures will be carried out in their locality.
In order to understand whether the (local) political process can enhance these impacts, we also cross-
randomize an additional intervention that enables local politicians to directly support the effectiveness of
these three schemes.
4. Local Politicians. This intervention is cross-randomized with all three interventions: Local Allocation,
Voice, and Voice-based Local Allocation. The local politicians are members of Union Councils, local
government bodies responsible for monitoring public services, dispute resolution, and for delivering certain
municipal services. They are both the closest and most accessible political actor for the citizen, and, given
their resources and knowledge, an effective intermediary between citizens and state.
Local politicians selected for this intervention will be allowed to intervene at different stages, depending on
the treatment status of a neighbourhood within their constituency: (1) In Voice and Voice-based Local
Allocation neighbourhoods, local politicians will introduce the intervention to taxpayers during town hall
meetings; (2) In Voice and Voice-based Local Allocation neighbourhoods, local politicians will monitor tax staff
as they collect taxpayer preferences; (3) In Local Allocation and Voice-based Local Allocation neighbourhoods,
these politicians will monitor and facilitate service delivery, using existing channels to pressure service
providers and assisting providers in selecting service locations; (4) finally, in Local Allocation and Voice-based
Local Allocation neighbourhoods, local politicians will hold public events to inaugurate new services and
reinforce the link between taxes and services.